Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Road Report #1

I've been meaning to start filing a weekly road report, of roads around Boston that are either really great for cycling (or walking or driving) or else really suck.  I'm guessing most of them will be about ones that really suck, but I'll try not to get too negative.

Our first candidate:

The downramp in Charlesgate (right near the Fens) that leads down to Commonwealth Avenue. 


I'm using this ramp pretty often this summer, whenever I need to get to Cambridge (I have a fun theatre gig at MIT) or Beacon Hill.  I'm a big believer in avoiding biking on sidewalks as much as possible.  And this sidewalk is very narrow and sometimes has people walking on it.

However, driving on the road presents a very difficult challenge, because on the right hand side of the ramp are a series of divots in the concrete that run perpendicular to the road, and are a couple inches deep.


This isn't the greatest photo, but they're deeper than they look, and there is a series of three, so you can't just hop over one, because if you try, you land on another one.  They're deep enough and sharp enough to rattle your teeth, and certainly readjust (mal-adjust) several mechanisms on your bike.

For now the solution is either to try to survive them and hope not to pop a tire or crash into the cars next to me, drive in the lane (but this is impossible, because the cars drive way too fast down the ramp and don't leave any room), or ride on the sidewalk.

I'm not sure who is actually responsible for this road.  I suspect it might actually be the state, rather than the city.  If anyone has any good suggestions for who to call, please let me know. This is definitely hazardous spot, but one that's hard to avoid, because it helps me get across the Turnpike.

Here's where it is on the map, in case you're interested:


View Larger Map

Monday, July 26, 2010

Weekly Tally #6: How I Got Around Last Week

Here's the quick stats for last week:

walking:  15.6 miles
biking:   76.2 miles
car (zipcar): 10 miles

We needed zipcar to get to a party in Medford, because it would have taken forever to get there by T, and it was too far too go with my son.  This might be the most I've biked in a single week.  I can definitely feel my legs getting much stronger as the summer progresses.

If I ever get a tattoo...

If I ever get a tattoo (not that I'm planning on it), maybe I'll get one like my friend Jeff has:

The text reads, (translated), "In the city, two wheels is best."  But it sounds cooler in Latin.  (What doesn't?)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

bike city: Copenhagen

I happened to stumble upon an interesting bike advocacy site:  peopleforbikes.org, and on their blog, they've got a great post about Velo-City 2010, the world's largest bike advocacy and planning conference, which took place in Copenhagen, Denmark.  Talk about an amazing city for riding bikes.  Definitely check out the blog post.  I love their system of sidewalk/bike lanes/car lanes.  And talk about strong goals--their goal is to have 50% of all travel in the city done by bike.  I sure would love to see Boston move farther in that direction.  And now I want to visit Copenhagen in a serious way.

There's also this cool video about Copenhagen and bikes:
http://www.streetfilms.org/cycling-copenhagen-through-north-american-eyes/

Weekly Tally #5: How I Got Around Last Week

I kept track again this week.  No zipcar this week, though we did a get a ride from a friend.  The heat (yet again) made getting around awfully hot some days.  No T rides at all this week.  Lots of bike miles (more than 50).

In the past five weeks, since I've been keeping track, I've ridden the bike more than 200 miles, which is more than I would have expected.

So, last week, here's how I got around:

Monday:
walking:  3 miles  
bike:  6.6 miles

Tuesday:
walking: 2 miles
bike:  8 miles 

Wednesday:
walking:  2.75 mile
bike:  4 miles

Thursday:
walking: 2 miles
bike:  11.6 miles

Friday:
walking:  2 miles
bike:  11 miles

Saturday:
walking: 3 miles
bike:  5.6 miles

Sunday:
walking:  3.2 miles 
bike:  1.6 miles
car:  10 miles (our friend Joe gave us a ride to a picnic)

Totals:
walking:  ~18 miles
bike:  50.8 miles
T: 0 miles
Car:  10 miles

Monday, July 12, 2010

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Weekly Tally #4: How I Got Around Last Week

I kept track again this week.  We rented a zipcar on Thursday to pick up Noah from the beach and run errands.

So, last week, here's how I got around:

Monday:
walking:  2 miles  
bike:  4 miles

Tuesday:
walking: 2 miles
bike:  11.2 miles  (SUPER hot outside on this day.  I was pretty wiped out.)

Wednesday:
walking:  4 mile
bike:  0 miles
boat:  35 miles (Tracy and I took the ferry from Boston to Salem.  It's about a 50-minute ride.  $20 round trip.  I love being able to get around by boat, and it was the perfect way to travel on a very hot day.)
T:  8 miles

Thursday:
walking: 3 miles
bike:  2 miles
zipcar:  180 miles



Friday:
walking:  3.5 miles
bike:  4.5 miles

Saturday:
walking: 2 miles
bike:  6.8 miles

Sunday:
walking:  2 miles 
bike:  4 miles


Totals:
walking:  18.5 miles
bike:  32.5 miles
T: 8 miles
Car:  180 miles
Boat:  35 miles

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Madharasapattinam Movie - review Rare cute arya and Miss Teen World amy jackson HQ wallpapers

1. It isn’t an easy task to narrate a story of the past. Director Vijay’s, who has involved himself in one such task, can

certainly be appreciated.

2. Although it may take some time to view obvious results of the people’s verdict on the movie, come on let’s have a glance

at our views about the movie ‘Madharasapattinam

3. Story

The story begins with the memories of elderly Emi (heroine), who is resides in London. Emi, who loses consciousness all of a

sudden, is warned by the doctors that they have diagnosed a brain hemorrhage and that a surgery should be performed within a

week.

4.

Emi upon hearing this says that she has to visit Chennai where she has an unfinished duty to perform. Emi, who comes to

Chennai with her granddaughter, gets into flashback.

5. 1945 ‘Madharasapattinam’

The hero of the movie Arya is introduced as a youthful washerman at Vannarpettai (Washermanpet) in Madharas. Emi is the

daughter of the governor of ‘Madharasapattinam’. Although she has a luxurious life at the palace, Emi is deprived of true

love. Emi is betrothed to Alex a top dog cop by the governor.


6.

Alex’s harsh attitude toward downtrodden people creates hatred in Emi and she repels Alex. At the same time, she gets a

liking toward Arya, who is daring, tough youth with a simple life. She gets him close to her heart. Arya too at a juncture

reciprocates her love.

7.

Just a few days before the Indian independence, the governor finds out their love and plans to separate them by taking Emi to

London. On the other hand Arya promises Emi that whether it be life or death, she has to undergo that in the Indian soil.

8. Midnight of August 15th the first Independence Day

They put Emi into a Delhi bound train and bring Arya to the governor’s residence, where they try to kill him. The climax

moves toward revealing whether it was their love or the power of governor that won.

9. 2010 Chennai

Did Emi, who comes to Chennai in search of Arya, meet him? Was she able to fulfill the duty she had to do? This leads to one

other climax in the movie.

10.

During the early stages of the movie, one would feel the similarity of the story of Titanic. In most part of the move the

director has sprayed the story of Titanic, which would vex the audience. However, he has focused on the narrating style of

the story and made it interesting, which is appreciable.

11.

The hard work of art director Selvakumar, cameraman Nirav Shah, combined with the computer graphics can be rightly described

as one other hero of the movie. With their help, Vijay has made every frame of the movie enjoyable.

12.

Arya, who appears as a tough youth with determination to stay united with Emi till end, has done a superb job in the movie.

His realistic wrestling show in the movie, which he had performed after required training, is simply excellent. Some of the

scenes where he meets Emi void of reaction is quite boring.

13.

Introduction of the beautiful looking Emi in the movie would really jerk our actresses such as, Tamanna, Anushka, Shreya, and

Trisha with shock. She has also performed excellently in acting as well. Emi, who had learnt Tamil for the sake of Arya and

delivered the Madharas accent in an anglicized manner, is sure to be envied by several actresses.

14.

The director has brought out all the characters fantastically and some the impressive ones are as follows: Alex who appears

as a top dog cop; Governor; granny who appears as elderly Emi; and Nazzar who appears as the wrestling master.

15.

Duraiyamma Trust episode, where the climax of the movie happens, is a poetic purge of the catharsis out of the audiences.

16.

The tar roads that reveal the artificial settings in the movie can be considered a mole in the artwork of the art director

Selvakumar. Other things such as, tram, antiques, car, palace, washing area, and huts have a realistic look in them.

17.

Diwali Noor, the costume designer, can be appreciated for the great work. Stunt director Manohar has got the attention of the

audiences in the wrestling and shooting scenes of the movie. G.V. Prakash has gone a step further when it comes to background

music of the movie. Some of the impressive instances include the bell sound of the tram; the background music for the party

at the palace; the song ‘Pookkal pookkum tharunam…’ is quite melodious in the voices of Roop Kumar, Rathod, Harini, Andrea,

and G.V, Prakash.

18.

This movie with so many positives has long scenes, which make the audiences literally grow old. If the director hadn’t

noticed this at least editor Antony should have done something about this. The background is so grand that it makes us think

if the director had chosen the pre-independence theme just to show the grandeur.

19.

Although a few negatives, such as lengthy scenes are present in the movie, they have invested a mammoth work in the movie

‘Madharasapattinam’, which should be appreciated whole heartedly.


Behind the screens of Madharasapattinam


‘Madharasapattinam’ is the third movie of Vijay while his previous ventures include Kireedam and Poi Solla Porom.

Emi Jackson who has been introduced as the heroine of the movie is a native of England. She has won the title ‘Miss Teen

World’. It seems she has dubbed in the movie herself.

In order to present the ancient ‘Madharasapattinam’ to the audiences, they had made huge settings of Central Railway Station,

Harbor road, trams, and the like, which would have cost them a ton. It seems the technology of graphics had come a long way

in recreation of the old city of Chennai.  It seems that director Vijay had commenced the shooting after gaining a detailed

knowledge of old Chennai from the elderly.

It is a challenging task to create background music for olden day story. It seems music director G.V. Prakashkumar too had to

consult with a number of people to create the sounds of trams and trains of olden days.

Most part of the film had been shot at the royal places in Bangalore and at Mysore Lalitha Mahal. The settings that depict

old Vannarpettai, Mount road, and canals were made in a location at Kelambakkam for the purpose of shooting.

madharasapattinam arya emi amy jackson cute HQ wallpapers, art director Selvakumar, cameraman Nirav Shah, Pookkal pookkum .
= = = =

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Bike sharing in Boston gets $3m federal grant - The Boston Globe

Looks like Boston really will end up getting bike sharing. I'm thrilled--not because we're likely to use the rental bikes (we already own our bikes), but because it puts more cyclists on the roads and will cause Boston to pay more attention to bike lanes and traffic patterns that include bicycles.

Bike sharing in Boston gets $3m federal grant - The Boston Globe

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

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Weekly Tally #3: How I Got Around Last Week

I kept track again this week.  We rented a zipcar on Sunday to take the kids down to the beach to stay with Grandma (Tracy and I get some time to ourselves!).

So, last week, here's how I got around:

Monday:
walking:  2 miles  
bike:  9 miles

Tuesday:
walking: 1 mile
bike:  15 miles  (I was kinda tired after this day of multiple trips)

Wednesday:
walking:  1 mile
bike:  5 miles

Thursday:
walking: 2 miles
bike:  4 miles

Friday:
walking:  4 miles
bike:  5.2 miles

Saturday:
walking: 2 miles
bike:  2 miles

Sunday:
walking:  2 miles 
bike:  0 miles
car (zipcar):  200 miles




Totals:
walking:  14 miles
bike:  40.2 miles
T: 0 miles
Car:  200 miles


This week, it seems like the trick is going to be surviving the heat.  Walking and biking mile after mile get a little tougher in the 90 degree temps.

Monday, July 5, 2010

there is a bike train from Boston to Newburyport

A recent Boston Globe article says that there's a special bike coach that riders can take from Boston up to Cape Ann, to do a little coastal riding, checking out the beaches and shore up near Rockport and Ipswich.  I'm going to have to check it out later this summer.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Numbers Are In

It's now been more than a year since we got rid of our car.  Last weekend, Tracy added up our transportation costs for the past year, as well as for the year prior, so we can see how much money we saved by getting rid of our car.  (If at all.)

Keep in mind that it's not like we never drive a car--we use zipcar and other rental cars when we need them.  And that costs money.  As does bike repair and T passes.

So here are the totals:

In our last year with the car, 2008-2009, here's what we spent on transportation:

T-pass/subway:  $520.30
Gas:  $1,293.69
Insurance: $829.35
Car repair:  $1,839.35
Tolls/parking:  $484.95
Monthly parking:  $720.00

TOTAL:  $5,687.64

So last year, without a car, here's what we spent:
Bicycles (repair, class, supplies, and new (used) bikes for both kids):  $896.10
Car rental (not zipcar):  $939.17
Walking:  $42.48  (shoe inserts, but not shoes)
T/Subway:  $558.72
Zipcar:  $1,033.95

TOTAL:  $3,470.42


So, by getting rid of our car, last year we saved:  $2,217.22  (or about $184.77 per month).  Last year, when we were getting started on this, we'd estimated that we'd save about $170 in cash every month

Some things to keep in mind: 
  • the car costs from the last year with the car did not include the purchase cost of the car (it was paid off a long time ago).  If you spread out the cost of buying the car over all the years we owned it, that was about $150/ month (I figured this out last year.)
  • our bike costs might go down a bit in the next year because this year each of the kids got a new (used) bike via Craig's List, we bought a trailer, and I learned how to do basic repairs on the bikes, so even though there will still be some shop visits, they should be fewer.
  • We spent more on zipcar and rental cars than we'd planned, but I think we were pretty satisfied with how it worked out.  We got to visit family when we needed to and took field trips that we wanted.
  • Not only did we save money, we also put a lot less emissions into the air.  And we got a lot of great exercise and fresh air.
  • In our daily lives, because we live in a very walkable, urban area, not having a car didn't end up costing a lot more time.  Grocery shopping by bike doesn't take a lot longer than by car, and other errands, by the time you get in the car, find a parking space, park the car, get out of the car, aren't a lot faster by car than on foot or bike.  This wouldn't be the case if we lived in the suburbs or country.
So it's been a big success so far--we're saving money, getting fit, and doing a small (tiny) bit for the environment.  I'd say we're in no hurry to go out and buy a car.